Scott Willis

Host, Reporter, Producer

I’ve always been enamored with the intimacy of radio.  It’s so personal.  It forces you to listen…and listen only.  No visual distractions.  I grew up listening to mostly top 40 radio in Detroit, with no shortage of entertaining DJ’s.  As a teenager, I discovered the area’s all news station.  I loved knowing what was going on, and the intensity with which they told stories.  I often wondered what it would be like to be the first to know what was happening, and then tell others.  Maybe that’s why I pursued a career in news. 

I would go on to serve as an intern at that all-news station, and it was amazing and maybe a little overwhelming to see what it took to put out a constant stream of news.  But something was missing.  It wasn’t until after I graduated from college that I actually discovered Detroit’s public radio station at my alma mater.  What a difference!  You had time to write and tell engaging, meaningful stories, to be creative, all without the pressure to constantly crank out the news.  Quality over quantity.  That’s when I knew public radio was for me.  I was hooked.

I would hone my skills on and off for almost three years at WDET as an intern under the tutelage of a patient Assistant News Director. I produced daily stories for newscasts, but also was given the privilege of producing long-form features on topics that interested me, and that people knew very little about.  Now THAT was cool.  Right up my alley.  What budding reporter could ask for more?

I landed here in Syracuse in June 2001.  Today, I’ve come full circle, and now teach the craft to more than a dozen student reporters per week.  We work hard to choose informative stories, find the most engaging sound, and edit copy for clarity and accuracy. 

Outside of work, I spend time with my wife and little boy.  We like to take walks, travel, and read.  When I can, I’ll hop on my bike for a quick ride.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the honor and privilege of bringing WAER’s dedicated and generous listeners the news of the day during All Things Considered.  Thanks for listening.

Ways to Connect

Scott Willis / WAER News

The Syracuse Parks Department is marking 100 years of operation, and WAER News has embarked on a series profiling just some of the city’s abundant green spaces.  This week, we head to the heart of the northside for a walk through Schiller Park.

For Paul Grella, it only made sense to be a founding member of the friends of Schiller Park in 2010.

Scott Willis / WAER News

Many Central New Yorkers may not know that the first cohort of New York State Troopers trained in their own back yard 100 years ago this month.  WAER News caught up with a pair of retired troopers to find out why 232 recruits trained at what is now the Cavalry Club in Manlius in 1917.  

Ted Palmer and Kenneth Kotwas say the push for a state-wide police force came from two prominent women from Westchester County, Moyka Newell and Katherine Mayo, following an acquaintance’s murder.

Scott Willis / WAER News

President Trump’s decision to back out of the Paris Climate Agreement has been making waves throughout the country and Central New York.  Strong supporters for the agreement want Congressmember John Katko to take their voices of opposition back to Washington.  Coordinator for New Yorkers for Clean Power, Renee Vogelsang  says  the U.S. is one of only three countries excluded from the agreement.

Scott Willis / WAER News

A new report from the Workers' Center of Central New York shows  that undocumented Mexican and Central American workers at dozens of upstate dairy farms face grueling work schedules and dangerous working conditions.  The study's release coincides with the beginning of National Dairy Month, and is called "Milked: Immigrant Dairy Farmworkers in New York State."  Report co-author Gretchen Purser is an Assistant professor of sociology at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School.

Gov. Cuomo's flickr page

Governor Cuomo says he’ll sign an executive order committing the state to meet the Paris accord standards, calling President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the agreement “reckless” and “irresponsible”. ​ And the governor says he’s joining with the governors of the states of California and Washington to form a coalition of states that are committed to upholding the Paris Accord. New York State has already begun a plan to get 50 percent of the state’s energy from renewable sources, like wind and solar, by 2030. But it is not without some controversy.

Scott Willis / WAER News

Dozens of seniors from their 60’s to their 90’s converged at Upstate’s Oasis center on Carrier Circle Wednesday to show off their singing skills or to try their hands at drumming.  The activities were part of an open house to celebrate National Senior Health and Fitness Day as well as the 15th anniversary of Oasis.  Director Cynthia Woods says they’re trying to keep seniors engaged and healthy…

Scott Willis / WAER News

The Syracuse Parks Department is marking 100 years of operation, and WAER News has embarked on a series that will take you to just some of the city’s many green spaces.  This week, WAER's Scott Willis takes a short walk from our studios to Thornden Park, where he met up with Miranda Hine.  She's founding member and co-president of the Thornden Park Association.

Hine says she instantly connected with the park when she moved to Syracuse in the early 1980’s and bought a house that backed up to Thornden.

Scott Willis / WAER News

Green Party candidates for Syracuse mayor and common council are rallying support for a universal health insurance plan that’s now one vote shy of support in the state senate.  The New York Health Act is a single public payer system financed by progressively graduated taxes on payrolls and non-payroll income such as capital gains and interest.  Mayoral candidate Howie Hawkins says federal funds for Medicaid, Medicare, and the family and child health plus programs would be folded in, resulting in savings for all but the wealthiest New Yorkers.

heroinnews.org

Parents and children in Central New York are being urged to keep an eye out for heroin and fentanyl disguised as candy.  It’s turned up in the southern tier, where police have issued a public health warning about the drugs that look like sweet tarts candy.  The latest attempt to get kids addicted has the Prevention Network’s Beth Hurny almost speechless…

"It's sick.  I can't even...I'm so angered by the whole thing."

She says it goes beyond just hiding the drug.

Scott Willis / WAER News

The Syracuse Department of Parks, Recreation, and Youth Programs is marking 100 years of operation this year, and WAER News is embarking on a special series of stories over the next few weeks that will take you to just some of the city’s 170 green spaces.   We'll start with a primer on how the department got its start, years after some parks were already established. 

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